Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre Studies

Committee Chair

John A. Ball

Second Committee Member

Lene Pedersen

Third Committee Member

Scott Robinson


The dominant narrative of the Living Theatre, an anarchist-pacifist, activist performance group, situates the company within a historical framework of the "New Left". Implications of this strategy are identified and critiqued. Both due to the simplification of historical time periods between the fields of theatre and politics, or "periodization" (Postlewait), and because of the ways in which the "New Left" is identified as overtly American in much theatre scholarship, historicizing the Living Theatre as "in-line" with the New Left has resulted in the erasure of the Living Theatre's founding philosophies of anarchism and pacifism. The visual implications of these findings are discussed in the theatre's advertising campaign for a 1971 lecture tour titled, "Theatre and the Revolution". Although a project engaged in marketing revolutionary ideas, these posters drew their image vocabulary from imaging strategies on the more far-radical left, such as Mao, Guevara, and Stalin. Visual-rhetorical strategy during this time period is compared across two advertising images.